Review by J.T. Johnson
In ‘Baby Driver’, Baby (Ansel Elgort) is a young man with a heart of gold that once tried to steal a car from Doc (Kevin Spacey), a criminal kingpin that knows how to set up a robbery. Doc has been employing Baby for years as his getaway driver and Doc sees him as a sort of good luck charm. Baby, on the other hand, can’t wait to settle his debt with Doc so he can move on with his life.
He eventually meets Debora (Lily James), a waitress at his favorite diner who he falls in love with. Baby wants to just take his money and escape with Debora. Unfortunately, Doc still has Baby under his thumb and won’t let him escape his life of crime.
The first thing of note is the amazing soundtrack that plays during the chases. Baby has a permanent case of tinnitus due to an accident when he was a kid. Now, he has to listen to music to drown out the ringing and heighten his reflexes while he drives.
Beyond the music, writer and director Edgar Wright has assembled several thrilling chases that appear to be pulled off using nothing but practical effects. In the age of CGI, it was truly refreshing to see old fashioned stunts and techniques used to make a thrilling film. Of course, it also helps that you have characters that you care about.
Baby is genuinely a good kid that you want to see win by the end of the film. Elgort’s chemistry with James is also genuine and you want this crazy love story to succeed as well. You even like some of the criminals at first until each one of them shows you how bad they can be.
Of note is Jamie Foxx as Bats, a homicidal maniac who has plenty of demons. On the other hand, Jon Hamm and Eiza González plays Buddy and Darling, a charming couple that takes part in robberies to support their partying ways. Then, of course, there is the aforementioned Spacey as Doc, a seemingly ruthless villain that Spacey definitely knows how to play.
But like everything else in the movie, there is more to Spacey’s Doc than meets the eye. Right from the start of the movie, Baby is outside waiting for a group of robbers to finish their job. When the robbers do finish, they jump in the car ready to go. One of the passengers points forward and instead of going forward, Baby throws the car in reverse and this sets the tone for the rest of the film.
Just when you think this film is going to go in one direction, it shifts gears and takes an entirely different road. Wright has made one hell of a cool pop culture film with style, character, and class. This is one ride that no one should miss this Summer.